Bingo around the world — facts and figures

Bingo is certainly one of the most popular games in the world. 

For most of us, there is probably a strong and clear image that comes to mind when we think of bingo. For many in the international world outside the U.K., traditional British bingo halls might be the first thing they think of. This is indeed where the game was popularized and first brought into its modern form, but it is nothing now if not an international game spread across the whole world.

Let’s look at some interesting facts and figures about global bingo today.

Where is bingo popular? 

The short answer is pretty much everywhere! The U.K. does, unsurprisingly, still lead the global market. From as long ago as the First World War, bingo has seeped its way into British culture and now around 3.5 million play the game regularly in the country. 

But it isn’t only the U.K. where people like to play bingo. Indeed, though it’s not entirely clear, many believe the game originates from a similar game played in Italy as far back as 1530. It then made its way out into the rest of Europe. 

The popularity of bingo in Italy has been steadily rising over the years, jumping from a total of €154 million wagered in 2019 to €243 million in 2020 for online bingo alone. 

But the game has also spread far outside of Europe. Bingo halls were legalized in Brazil in 1993, and ever since, the game has been enormously popular in the Latin American nation.  

Japan is another nation where you might be surprised to learn of the extent of Bingo’s popularity. They are most fond of the 75-ball version of the game, which tends to be the most commonly played. One game in Japan, the biggest single game in history, saw almost five hundred thousand players in one game. 

So, as you can see, bingo is popular more or less everywhere! But whom exactly is it popular with? 

What are the demographics of bingo players? 

With around 1.6 billion estimated players each year, bingo attracts a wide range of demographics to its halls and online games. With the volume of players in North America, a region of the world where the game is also very popular, may give us a good, broader insight. 

In a profile of 60,000 players, 70% were female, down from 98% in previous years. The average age of those players was around 53/54, which again is down about five years from previous years. The average age of male players specifically was lower, at about 48. 

Most of those who played tended to play 3-4 times a week. 

Today, though, in the U.K. at least, the demographics are shifting away from the older towards the younger. A change in culture, with events like Bongo’s Bingo, has made the game more accessible to a younger demographic. 

The other question about the young vs the older generation is regarding the online version of the game or the bingo halls. 

Online bingo vs bingo halls 

The original popularity of the game was certainly in the physical bingo halls. But today it is gaining popularity in the digital world. Over 100 million people play online bingo worldwide through the multitude of sites available, and that number only continues to grow. 

Online bingo made the game easily accessible to anyone with a device connected to the internet, and naturally, the online game has remained extremely popular. But the popularity of online bingo has also driven the popularity of the traditional bingo hall. 

In Columbia, for instance, the number of physical bingo locations has tripled since 2002. 

However, the main problem has been navigating legislation. In Japan, for instance, physical bingo halls are prohibited by law. However, the online version of the game is perfectly legal. 

This is often the case that physical betting premises are not within the law, but the online game is. So, there is more than basic accessibility driving the popularity of bingo. It’s also about needing to upgrade the laws for the modern age. 

In the U.K., bingo’s homeland, there are around 350 bingo halls—this continues to take the lead on per capita bingo locations around the world. But the online version only gets more popular by the day. 

Bingo is, now more than an ever, a game with global, near universal, popularity. Where ever you are in the world, you are never all that far away from the ability to play bingo. It’s easy to see why a game like bingo has gained the traction that it has, being so intuitively easy to play and understand—and giving everyone an equal chance of winning! 

Whereas once bingo was mainly considered the game of the older generation in the U.K., now it has spread not only geographically but generationally, too. It is certainly, by far, one of the most popular games in the world.